Top officer confirms Iran nukes suffer technical problems

Gantz ‘disappointed’ he did not get top IDF appointment, says IDF should not be judged by negative headlines of Galant affair.

November 24, 2010 19:09
2 minute read.
Benny Gantz with troops 298

Benny Gantz with troops . (photo credit: IDF)

On Wednesday, a senior IDF officer confirmed reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran had encountered major technological difficulties at its Natanz uranium enrichment facility, likely set on by the Stuxnet virus.

Outgoing Deputy Chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz refused to comment on the reports.

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“I do not want to comment on the cyber hygiene of anyone else in the world,” Gantz said. “Iran is a threat to the world and to the region but it is not just an Israeli problem,” he said.

“Iran is a challenge that threatens not just Israel but also its neighbors,” he said.

Gantz also said on Wednesday that the IDF should not be judged by the recent Galant Document affair but should be looked at through the thousands of soldiers and commanders who daily risk their lives to protect the State of Israel.

Gantz will retire from the IDF on Thursday after 33 years of service and will be replaced by Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, former head of the Central Command, who was brought back to service by incoming chief of General Staff, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant.

Gantz vied for the top military post but lost out to Galant. He served in five senior positions including OC Northern Command, head of the Ground Forces Command and the IDF’s attaché in Washington.

Gantz saw the so-called Galant Document, which police have determined was forged by former IDF officer Boaz Harpaz, before it was revealed in the press in August. One of the lines in the document called to launch a “negative campaign” against Gantz. He was shown the document by current Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, who had received it from his senior assistant, Col. Erez Weiner.

“These affairs do not represent the IDF, which has commanders who work around the clock and [has] combat soldiers, pilots and sailors who are working at the highest level possible,” Gantz said at a briefing for military reporters.

“I would recommend that people not get confused because of a few negative headlines in the news.”

Gantz admitted to being disappointed with Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s decision to appoint Galant to the top post in February but said that it was “his right.”

“It is not a secret that I wanted to be the chief of General Staff and it is no secret that someone else got the job.

I wish him the best of luck,” he said.

During his tenure as deputy chief of General Staff, Gantz was involved in preparing the IDF for a possible confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program.

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